Ted Johnson, the 91-year-old pedestrian who was struck and critically injured by an alleged drunken driver last week in downtown Santa Barbara, died of his injuries Monday night, according to his daughter.
George Theodore “Ted” Johnson, a resident of the Casa Dorinda retirement community who was evacuated with his wife due to the Montecito mudslides, was a pioneer in the U.S. ski industry and a founder of the Snowbird ski resort in Utah, his daughter, Kylie Johnson, told Noozhawk.
Johnson had been staying at the La Quinta motel at State and Arrellaga, Johnson said.
He was crossing State Street at Micheltorena Street in a crosswalk at about 7:30 p.m. Jan. 23 when he was struck by a vehicle driven by Nicholas B. Hart, 26, of Goleta, according to the Santa Barbara Police Department.
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Hart, who police said has two prior convictions for driving under the influence and had a suspended license at the time of the collision, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, causing injury and driving on a suspended license.
He was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail, with bail set at $1 million.
Charges against Hart were pending at the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday afternoon and were likely to be revised after Johnson’s death, according to a spokesman.
Johnson moved to Utah in the 1960s in pursuit of the legendary powder snow in Little Cottonwood Canyon, and he ended up working at the Alta ski area, according to a statement on the Snowbird website.
“He quickly realized the potential for a second resort in the canyon and began buying up mining claims and looking for investors. A chance meeting with a Texan named Dick Bass began a partnership that resulted in Snowbird’s opening in December 1971.”
“Almost everything at Snowbird — from the tram to the village to the spirit of Snowbird’s first employees — started with Ted,” said Snowbird President and CEO Bob Bonar, who worked for Ted before the resort opened. “It was Ted’s vision, intellect, endearing personality and persistence that brought Snowbird to life.”
Bass bought out Johnson’s interest in Snowbird in 1974.
Johnson was twice featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, according to his daughter.
Johnson is survived by his wife, Shirley, children Kylie and Peter Johnson, and three grandchildren.
A celebration of life for Johnson is planned at a later date in Southern California, according to his daughter.